I am sure by now that all of you have heard of the very recent ban of the Iran Women’s Football team from the 2012 London Olympics due to yes, the presence of the headscarf on the women’s heads. According to major news outlets, FIFA imposed this ban claiming that the team’s dress code violated the organization’s uniform dress code that states that “Players and officials shall not display political, religious, commercial or personal messages or slogans in any language or form on their playing or team kits.” Other news agencies report that the ban was due to safety concerns claiming that the head and neck covering posed a ‘choking hazard’. Whatever the reason may be, I believe that this ban is unjust and that it should be reversed.
The topic of hijab has always been a controversial one and this case is no different. FIFA was wrong in implying that the team had violated the uniform code because wearing the hijab to Muslim women is is simply a way of life; it is not a piece of clothing that promotes an Islamic ideology. If anything, I think the hijab should be celebrated. Afterall isn’t global diversity the very spirit of the Olympics?
The claims that the hijab poses a choking hazard are unfounded because if they were true, an extremely large number of women would have been dead by now due to wearing the hijab. Hijabified women (and men for that matter) have managed to stay alive while participating in sports for many centuries. Think about it-are Iranian women the first humans ever to engage in athletic activities with their heads and necks covered? Did biblical women engage in sports? How about theTuareg men racing on camel back? They are fully covered but still very physically active.
Women of all religious and cultural background have the right to wear what they see fit and be able to participate in the global society without fearing negative consequences. If a woman can run in a field wearing a tshirt and shorts, she can run in a field wearing a long sleeve shirt and a headscarf. The choice is hers.